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Iranian Foreign Policy: Continuity and Change


Speaker: Dr Mahdi Ahouie, University of Tehran

Chair: Dr Roham Alvandi, LSE

This lecture is a joint event between the Middle East Centre and the Middle East International Affairs Programme at LSE IDEAS.

Monday 13 June 2011

18:00 - 19:30

Location: Alumni Theatre, LG.09, New Academic Building, LSE

** This meeting will be held under Chatham House Rule| **

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Almost everybody knows about the dramatic changes which took place in Iranian foreign policy after the 1979 Revolution. But few may believe that there has also been continuity in Iranian foreign policy in many aspects throughout the past century. Dr Ahouie will talk about what has not changed in Iran's foreign policy during the pre- and post- revolutionary eras.

Exploring elements of Iranian political culture as related to foreign policy, Ahouie will elaborate on the theory of "Iranian dual complex" as the best formula to explain continuity and change in Iran's foreign policy: feeling superior over the entire surrounding region, while feeling inferior (or vulnerable and threatened) in relation with the West. This dichotomy has dominated Iran's foreign policy both before and after the Iranian revolution and it has formed a strong political psyche which is shared by the majority of Iranians, from secular to religious, and from lay to intellectual. The result is a missionary foreign policy which aims to provide a role model for all other nations of the globe. This lecture will explain where this dichotomy comes from: geopolitical factors and historical facts were all decisive to create such a dominating foreign policy culture in Iran.

Mahdi Ahouie is an Assistant Professor of politics at the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran. He has received a PhD in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - University of Geneva, Switzerland. He also holds a Masters degree from the University of Geneva specializing in international history and politics,and a BA from the School of International Relations in Tehran. He has worked as a research fellow at several educational and research institutions in Iran and in Switzerland, including the International Centre for Geopolitical Studies in Geneva, and the Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran.

This lecture is open to all and registration is not required.

Admission is on a first come first served basis.